Why Even Smaller Companies Need General Counsel

As I represent so many small to mid-sized companies, I’m frequently asked for my best advice for these types of businesses. While the list is long and the advice can depend in part on the industry in which the businesses are in, the single best over-arching piece of advice for their success boils down to this: Hire a general counsel, work with him/her to develop your contracts and procedures, and talk to him/her monthly (or at least quarterly) about developments, changes to your business and growth.

Still, it never ceases to amaze me how many entrepreneurs, independent contractors and small to mid-sized companies still do not do this. Their reluctance seems to fall into two principal categories: cost, and the belief that they can work problems out themselves. Although I usually applaud optimism, this type of optimism is dangerously inaccurate, and can prove to be financially devastating.

Legal advice is not cost prohibitive

The leading excuse that I hear for avoidance of legal advice is cost. The reality is that most companies are too small to need (much less afford) their own in-house, full-time general counsel. Many make the mistake of assuming that this means they don’t need a general counsel – or can’t afford one – at all. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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